During the peak of garden season here in East Texas, you may find that after canning, freezing and taking bags of yellow squash to work colleagues, you still have a dozen of these prolific yellow fruits in the fridge waiting to be cooked. A friend of mine once told me that in East Texas in early summer, you have to keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up or else you will come out to find that someone has put sacks of squash in your front seat.
Maybe there should be a warning label on those innocent six packs of potted squash plants we find in the nursery while planning our spring gardens. Warning: Planting all six of these plants may result in a serious over production of squash!
And oh how many delightful recipes there are for summer squash. Sautés, soups, stews, grilling, stuffed, in salads, on pizza, squash dressing… This is beginning to sound like Bubba Gump! After you have tried every squash recipe you can think of, here is one with only four ingredients that takes maybe ten minutes to prepare. And if you are trying to use up some extra squash, what better way than to have squash for breakfast? Am I on the edge here? Maybe, but if you want to experience the delectable subtle flavor of yellow squash, try this.
Straight neck squash works better in this recipe than crook neck. The objective is to preserve the delicate sweet flavor of the squash. Using butter (not margarine) and just a pinch of salt is the key. Remember that a pinch of salt can bring out the flavor in foods while too much will cover up flavors, a culinary tip that is true in all recipes. Another objective of this recipe is to cook the squash so that it is tender but not mushy. You achieve this by slicing the squash lengthwise just under one half inch thick (one centimeter exactly) and cooking it on medium high heat just long enough to get an attractive butter browning on each side. When prepared correctly, you will enjoy a buttery delicate squash flavor that serves very well with eggs cooked to order. A dash of coarse black pepper adds zest and eye appeal.
Surprised to hear your dietitian recommending butter over margarine? While butter is a source of cholesterol, most margarines today contain trans-fat. Recent science tells us that trans-fat clogs our blood vessels worse than animal fats like butter. The key of course is to use small amounts of any fat and to eat more plant foods (like squash) than animal foods.
In East Texas, the medical diagnosis of Squash-a-Phobia is used for someone who has a fear of turning into a squash. It’s relatively easy to diagnose. Watch for a strong emotional reaction when the client is shown a yellow squash. Or one might observe excessive preoccupation with squash recipes. Or the client might talk excessively about squash. A good therapy approach is to have the person write down their feelings about squash, talk about their experiences and perhaps even develop new recipes for using squash. So, if you wake up in the middle of the night and find that you have turned into a giant yellow squash…
It’s time to go eat a hamburger.
Squash & Eggs
Serving size: 1 egg and 1 squash
1 tablespoon butter
Pinch of salt
2 medium straight neck yellow squashes
Pinch of coarse black pepper
2 fresh eggs
In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the salt. If you have already gotten your palate used to eating less salt, use only a pinch so as not to cover the delicate sweet flavor of the squash.
Meanwhile, slice the squash lengthwise into just under ½ inch slices. The thickness of the squash is important in achieving the objective of this recipe, tender yet not mushy slices with a golden butter browned surface. Too thick and the squash will not be tender before it is overbrowned, too thin and it will be mushy.
Spread out the melted butter in the skillet and add the squash in a single layer. The fire should be hot enough to brown the squash fairly quickly. Turn after about 3 minutes when the squash is just starting to brown. Don’t overcook.
Meanwhile in a separate nonstick skillet, sprayed lightly with cooking spray, fry the two eggs to the desired doneness.
Serve immediately on a warm plate with a slice of whole grain toast and orange juice.
Exchanges per serving:
1 Medium Fat Meat, 1 Vegetable, 1 Fat
Nutrients per serving:
Calories from fat: 92
Total Fat: 10g
Sodium: 154 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 7g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Tim Scallon is a registered dietitian nutritionist with St. Luke’s Health. In cooperation with Sodexo Food Service, The Polk Education Center and the City of Lufkin, Tim Scallon hosts the nationally viewed TV series Memorial Cooking Innovations. The popular cooking show celebrates the joy of fresh food and healthy eating and can be seen on cable in 62 cities and online at http://www.chistlukeshealthmemorial.org. On the website find healthy recipes, past cooking shows and sound nutrition information.